Coming in at number 10 on our list of the top 20 players of 2016 is Robin "flusha" Rönnquist. Known to be a stalwart wherever he plays, the Swede all-arounder got an impressive five EVPs—four of which were at big events—, delivered damage in high quantities, and had the highest APR of the year.
Robin "flusha" Rönnquist’s beginnings in CS:GO date back to late 2012 when him, Andreas "znajder" Lindberg, Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg, Simon "downie" Storm, and Erik "zende" Sundeqvist played under SY_b, also known as swag, yolo & bitches. That team, while not particularly memorable, went down as being the first to beat NiP when they took out their compatriots 16-14 on Dust2_se, knocking them out of the Round of 64 in a THOR Open qualifier. A qualifier SY_b then went on to win.
Shorty after that win against NiP, SY_b linked up with Western Wolves. The team’s performances weren’t great, though, and after znajder decided to further his career in Absolute Legends with Markus "pronax" Wallsten, the team parted ways. This time, flusha linked up with Jesper "JW" Wecksell in Epsilon, and was soon joined by znajder again, who didn’t see eye to eye with his teammates in Absolute Legends.
flusha donning the Epsilon colors at DreamHack Summer 2013
Andreas "MODDII" Fridh was brought on board but it was flusha, who had already started to show his proclivity towards leading in game, who took over the calling duties ahead of DreamHack Bucharest 2013, their first event in the powerhouse organization fnatic.
The team’s biggest achievement so far came at the end of the year. By then, MODDII had been replaced by pronax after fnatic went out in quarterfinals to VeryGames at ESWC. DreamHack Winter 2013 was where that fnatic made history, winning the first ever CS:GO Major against NiP. That 2013 was big for flusha not only because of that Major, but also because he was shining individually—making it into that year’s HLTV top 20 ranking in the 13th position thanks to his consistency and clutch play.
The following year was flusha’s breakout into the top, individually as he ended second on HLTV’s top 20 ranking of 2014, bested only by Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund. That year, fnatic were unable to play well on two of the biggest three stages, going out in 5th-8th place at DreamHack Winter and EMS One Katowice, two Majors. They were, however, able to make it to the final at ESL One Cologne, where they eventually lost.
That year, flusha was the highest rated player in the team on eight different occasions, and only had a rating below 1.00 at a single event, DreamHack Stockholm #2, where he had a 0.95. Halfway into the year, though, fnatic were struggling to find form, having been unable to win anything and making it to a single semifinal before two 5th-8th exits at EMS One Katowice and CPH Games, and a group stage exit at DreamHack Summer.
Then one of the biggest trades in CS:GO history happened, with fnatic acquiring the services of Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson. Their first tournament was a semifinal run, then a final run at ESL One Cologne, and five first places out of seven events including StarLadder StarSeries X, FACEIT Season 2 Finals, ESWC, Fragbite Masters Season 3 Finals, and the 17th season of ESEA’s Global Finals.
One disappointment came in the form of DreamHack Winter, though, a Major, where they went out in 5-8th after forfeiting a rematch against LDLC in the classic Overpass in which olofmeister became the boostmeister.
In 2015 fnatic continued their reign of terror. Despite a fourth place at the first event of the year, MLG X-Games Aspen, fnatic won two Majors, ESL One Katowice and ESL One Cologne, amongst their six wins before summer.
The Swedish team didn’t go out before semifinals in any tournament all year until the ill-fated Cluj-Napoca Major, in which the Swedish side fell to the eventual champions, EnVyUs, in the quarterfinals. Under fire from recent performances, pronax was taken out of the team.
With Dennis "dennis" Edman coming in from Kinguin, another incredibly dominant fnatic was born. With flusha taking over the in-game leading once again, and with more firepower than ever, the Swedes got back on track by closing out the year with three victories at FACEIT League Season 3 Finals, Fragbite Masters Season 5 Finals, and ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Finals.
"I still want to pursue leading, I want to become more complete both as a player and a human being. I think leading is what I lack the most within the game, and I have become a lot better at leading a team since 2015. The other thing I have become better at is entry-fragging, but I have lost a bit in lurking and clutching though."
fnatic started out the year the same way they finished it, by winning three events in a row and becoming the most dominant force in CS. The first event in the triad was the SL i-League StarSeries Season XIV Finals in Minsk. There, fnatic seemed a bit shaky as they started out losing 2-0 in their opening match to EnVyUs, but were able to bring it back for a championship run. While it wasn’t flusha’s best tournament, he left a memorable carry performance on Inferno against Luminosity.
"The beginning of the year was like a dream. We were still in our honeymoon period and there weren’t too many tournaments going on at the same time. We were on top of the world, and the possibility of the team crumbling was out of the question during this time."
The second of the three wins was the ESL Expo in the sunny city of Barcelona. While the atmosphere there was more laid back, fnatic only gave up a single map on their way to lifting the trophy, further cementing their status as kings.
The third tournament won in a row at the beginning of 2016, sixth counting the last three of 2015, was IEM Katowice. There, flusha ended with a solid 1.14. After the three events, flusha had a treble of EVPs, and had been named PotM in two instances at each tournament.
"Katowice 2016 was my fondest memory of the year. Despite not being able to practice much before the event because Olof was already having some hand problems, we improved throughout the event after a shaky group stage and managed to win the tournament."
Then MLG Columbus came around, and fnatic went out losing to Astralis in the quarterfinals. With olofmeister playing injured, the team as a whole started to lose confidence. Despite that early exit in Columbus, flusha finished with a 1.14 rating and almost 80% KAST across the six maps played.
"Olof’s injury had a major impact on the way we played. Our game at the time was about confidence, and we all suffered from Olof having less of it. We all hesitated more while making plays, I would say. We didn’t change anything up within the team, and I didn’t either, personally, but looking back at it maybe we should have done something."
The Swedes then skipped Malmö, in hopes olofmeister would get better, but eventually he had to be sidelined and John "wenton" Eriksson went to the ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals in his stead. Despite playing with a stand-in, fnatic managed to make it to the quarterfinals where they were edged out by G2. There, flusha had another Inferno carry performance, although ultimately in vain. Their deep run was in large part due to multiple carry performances throughout the tournament, in which he scored an astounding 94.6 ADR and a 1.20 rating.
"I remember the G2 game. We were down 13-2 or 14-1 after the first half and I was just like ‘fuck it’ after 12 rounds of the first half. I was gonna take every duel I could find and just see if I could impact the match solely myself. I didn’t do anything special, but sometimes I enter ‘flushamad’ mode and I just care less about making mistakes and playing for the team and more about smashing my opponents."
The first Season of ECS then rolled around, but lackluster performances from the whole team only got fnatic to the quarterfinals, where they lost to G2, again, but this time more embarrassingly. There, flusha played his only tournament with a rating under 1.00 this year, scoring 0.94.
At ESL One Cologne, fnatic’s five were back at it to give a Major another shot and despite an early hiccup against FaZe, who edged them out 16-14 in the opener, fnatic was able to make it out of the groups easily.
After breezing past Gambit, the Swedish team was stunned by Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev’s Liquid in the semifinals. Despite an amazing tournament by KRIMZ and another solid display at a Major by flusha, fnatic went back home empty handed.
"The Majors were disappointing. Sure, I can take that we lost to Astralis in Columbus, but the way we lost was really bad. And we really should have been in the final in Cologne. We just choked really hard against Liquid, unfortunately."
Then came the ELEAGUE Season 1 Finals. There, fnatic managed to finish second despite looking visibly worked up and frustrated with each other.
During the ELEAGUE Season 1, including the groups, flusha had a season-high 3 PotM maps and earned his fifth and final EVP award of the season for his contributions—which included a 1.14 rating and 84.8 ADR.
"Honestly, there were a lot of reasons we were getting into arguments. We had been in the USA idling for like 2 weeks and getting on each other’s nerves. We weren’t performing up to our high standards and we had some small personal disputes. Eventually it all just added up to something far worse than it actually was."
Coming into the off-season, one of the biggest news all year hit when the transfer of JW, flusha, and KRIMZ to GODSENT was announced, sending in turn Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson and Simon "twist" Eliasson to fnatic, who would end up picking wenton up as well.
The reunion of the old fnatic core was not going to go as expected, though, and GODSENT were knocked out in groups at their first event together, the SL i-League StarSeries Season 2 Finals in Kiev, Ukraine. There, they lost three maps to dignitas and one to NiP. Despite the loss, flusha ended with a more than decent 1.10 rating and, again, an incredibly high 94.4 ADR, especially given the circumstances.
"[The fnatic-GODSENT trade] was a hasty decision. We were just about to go on summer break for two weeks and had we waited that break out perhaps we wouldn’t have made that decision. But you are never going to go through life perfectly without any mistakes ;)."
Despite not counting towards the top 20 ranking, flusha and GODSENT, now back with Lekr0 for KRIMZ, had a good showing at the PGL EU Minor. There, the Swedes took the trophy and qualified for the Major Qualifier later that year in Atlanta. While flusha & co. did well and took the trophy, they were still punching well below their weight.
Finally, flusha’s season ended at DreamHack Winter where his side beat FlipSid3 and Kinguin for a berth in the playoffs. There, however, a freshly renovated Gambit were waiting, and after three maps it was the Kazakh-Russian-Ukrainian side who ended coming out ahead.
"We ended the year by qualifying to the major and that was a really good ending for us. Going into 2017 with success is hopefully a good thing. I think qualifying 3-0 for the Major will have a huge impact for the team and the insecurities we had.
"In 2017 I want to win more than I did this year, keep doing well at Majors, perhaps try to stream more, and get on HLTV’s top 20 of 2017."
Why is he the 10th best player of 2016?
Without a doubt, one of flusha’s strengths lies in his consistency. This consistency works on several layers, though, as he is not just consistently putting up kills, but consistently doing a lot of damage and contributing to rounds. It could be said flusha is like Chinese water torture, slowly driving his rivals insane.
"Whatever small damage I can do without risking myself taking damage or dying is something I try to do. Unlike other players who go for the all or nothing plays most of the time, I chip away at opponents as much as I can."
That can be backed by his 73% KAST, the third best, and 83.8 ADR (#6). Of that 83.8 ADR, 26.4 of it is support damage (meaning he doesn’t kill the enemy himself), where he ranks second, but it does lead to kills, which is reflected in his 0.18 APR—the best out of any player this year. Tying into that is his 8.0 grenade and molotov damage per round, another record, which makes flusha a clear candidate to best support player of the year.
"Every player is as important in a team, even though the public has a need for people to define ‘star players.’ A star player wouldn’t be anything without his team. I would call myself just a team player or an all-around player. I’ll do whatever my team needs me to do."
On whether he thinks these little things he does go underappreciated by the public, flusha said:
"I [do] think I’m being underappreciated by some of the public. One ‘expert analyst’, particularly, who likes players who are headshotting and such. Honestly, I think most pro players are wasting their molos and nades a lot. Even my own teammates just throw them to not have them in their inventory anymore. I think a lot of the things I do can’t be shown on stream because showing someone getting a kill is preferred over me doing 50 damage on 2 opponents."
The big stages were where flusha shined the most, stepping up at both Majors with a team-high 1.12 rating (#8), and 5 EVP awards, of which 4 were at big events. At big events and big matches, flusha was rated at 1.11 and 1.10, respectively, in-line with his 1.11 average for the year where he ranks seventh.
The reasons he wasn’t higher were his lack of direct impact, meaning he wasn’t his team’s best player during their biggest successes, and he didn’t have as much impact in won rounds as compared to the rest of the top 20. He had the 2nd most ADR in rounds his team lost, 63.6, which speaks to how he is rarely the reason his team lose rounds and adds to his consistency, but it tells us that in won rounds he didn’t stand out as much as it may seem at first glance.
"When we played against Epsilon at the Minor he was the one who almost beat us with his crazy entry frags. I would like to see him get a chance with more experienced players."